Anti-Bullying Apps Are Popular. But Do They Work?

Anti-Bullying Apps Are Popular. But Do They Work? Leave a comment

Despite nationwide efforts to foreground measures to stop bullying—together with annual campaigns like National Bullying Prevention month—bullying remains a serious public health issue. Tech builders have responded to this crisis with, predictably, extra expertise. From apps that help mother and father in educating their youngsters about bullying, to expertise that purports to document and observe incidents within the second, there isn’t any dearth of downloadable options for anybody in search of a response to this downside.

I had already graduated highschool in New York City by the point the first bullying prevention law was enacted in 1999. In the close to quarter-century for the reason that state of Georgia took the lead in criminalizing bullying, all 50 states have, in a single kind or one other, taken action to address this problem. While I’m glad to see progress made on this entrance, it’s too little too late for many who moved by means of faculty with targets on their backs, as I had. It’s due to my very own experiences that I comply with discussions about anti-bullying efforts with nice curiosity—and likewise a wholesome dose of skepticism.

The Tech-Based Elephant within the Room

As an educator, I’ve seen firsthand how faculty directors usually speak a superb sport relating to their faculty’s “no-nonsense” or “zero-tolerance” bullying insurance policies. Walk into any faculty, and also you’re prone to see a minimum of one anti-bullying poster hanging up within the halls, some even created by college students themselves. But as a trainer and a survivor of maximum abuse by the hands of a number of of my former friends, I do know firsthand that modern-day anti-bullying legal guidelines, insurance policies, and apps are solely as efficient because the adults keen to implement them.

It stays true that not all faculty officers take bullying complaints significantly, as was the case with one faculty district in California that was just lately discovered complicit in the digital bullying campaign against one of its students. The district was ordered to pay out 1 million {dollars} in damages to the teenage sufferer. According to NBC News, “The gross negligence by School, Teachers, Principal, and District resulted in significant physical and psychological trauma to Claimant.”

As I encounter such tales, I can’t assist however wonder if and the way anti-bullying expertise may make a distinction for victims, but in addition their aggressors. According to Kati Morton, licensed marriage and household therapist, media personality, and author of the ebook Traumatized: Identify, Understand, and Cope with PTSD and Emotional Stress, in counting on expertise to handle the issue of bullying, we’re trying outward for options that is perhaps inward. “I don’t really see technology being effective. We need to have more conversations, and this needs to be face-to-face with parents. We also need teacher intervention,” she mentioned. With cyberbullying defining a lot of how youngsters now expertise bullying, Morton believes that “we need to take solutions offline.”

It would appear, additionally, that some expertise has positioned the onus of discovering an answer squarely within the palms of the targets. Requiring victims to do extra work to realize security in areas the place security must be a given (reminiscent of colleges) doesn’t appear proper to some psychological well being specialists. “We’re putting this responsibility on the person being hurt to download an app and take these extra steps. We need to deal with the people who are bullying. There need to be consequences,” Morton says.

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